Last week, my crinkly green jumper and I got to sit down with extraordinary architectural designer and artist, Sabba Khan to discuss her upcoming graphic novel, The Roles We Play. You may know Sabba’s work from her Instagram feed which explores identity, belonging, and memory through the lens of a British Pakistani Azad Kashmiri third culture kid.
I’ve always admired the way Sabba’s work walks the fine line of commenting on the more barbed and fractious aspects of South Asian and Muslim identity without falling into the trap of depicting these things as other or lesser. There is a genuine love and devotion to her roots and upbringing yet a frank exploration of the tangible frustrations she encounters when enmeshing certain aspects of this with her Britishness. These facets of our cultural heritage are, after all, woven into the tapestry of who we are, and Khan handles them with such empathy and care. It is no doubt, then, that her work resonates with so many.
The Roles We Play (Myriad Editions, 2021) will depict 30 stories, exploring the themes of identity, memory, belonging, and both Khan’s religious and cultural heritage. It was such a pleasure to have this conversation with Sabba for South Asian Heritage Month. During our interview, Sabba took us through some of the choices for her debut publication as well as one of her most notable pieces, The Golden Kaaba. We talked about the current landscape for independent artists and how to access funding for your craft as well as life, love, family, interfaith marriage, and all manner of things in between. So, get comfortable, grab a cup of your preferred hot beverage, and enjoy.
The Roles We Play releases in July 2021 and is available for preorder through Myriad Editions. You can follow Sabba’s journey on Instagram @sabbakhanart and via her website, sabbakhan.com. The Golden Kaaba is also available for purchase via her Etsy store.